Miami Commissioners don’t want your input on this last minute 3-page MLS plan

Grant Stern
Jul 17, 2018 · 3 min read
Miami MLS team 1/20th owner Jorge Mas.

Miami residents turned out en masse on Thursday, July 12th to mostly oppose the use of a golf course to become a MLS soccer stadium and commercial development.

Today, the City of Miami finally released the newest 3-page plan (embedded below) containing the sum total of all details related to the MLS group’s proposal to the city of Miami, which billionaire frontman Jorge Mas said would be at least a billion dollar deal.

“The kids that were there asked me, ‘How is it fair that the soccer kids get their stadium, but we get kicked out?’” says Miami-Dade Commission District 6 candidate Maryin Vargas. Melreese Golf Club is city owned, but is inside her district.

“It makes Miami’s children who use the golf course feel unimportant, it really hurts them.

It dropped my heart.”

A source who used to be inside the local development group Genting told me this week, that his company had a similarly desirable piece of retail property at the Omni Mall in downtown Miami. They obtained an agreement for a $100 million up front payment to create an outlet mall with an operator — not dissimilar from the MLS plan — except that they also retained 50% of the rents and their entire hotel operation too.

Miami-Dade Commission candidate Maryin Vargas (D)

This source estimated that the Melreese Golf Course would yield up to $116 million rents annually in today’s dollars if developed according to the Mas plan’s specs, which he analyzed and shared the figures with me.

The hotel alone would be valued at $720 million which would indicate a site value of $72 million just for that portion of the development.

The City of Miami Commission will vote tomorrow on the new plan, but has not heard any public input on a record that was only released at 4:53 pm today.

Miami Commissioner Ken Russell remains the swing vote, and said on the dais last week that City Attorney Victoria Mendez advised the Commission that they would not have to accept new public comments on Wednesday, even though the plan has changed since the meeting last week, which was deferred to tomorrow.

“I showed up to speak at last week’s meeting.” Vargas said defiantly when we spoke after she visited Melreese Golf Club today. “Commissioner Sosa told my neighbors that “her hands were tied,” but she didn’t bother to represent her citizens and give a public comment last week, and it’s shameful.”

“I intend to show up,” she says, “and demand my right to be heard tomorrow at City Hall.”

Here’s the new 3-page plan for Miami’s largest single piece of real estate:

Miami-Dade Commission Candidate Maryin Vargas on Facebook live from Melreese Golf Club:

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